The purpose with “Cities without Citizens” is to investigate the relationship between formal associations that focus on civic engagement and urban citizenship and the actual forms of social organizations that residents in social housing estates are engaged in. In particular, the project focuses on what it means to withdraw from participation in formal associations to residents living in social housing estates undergoing physical transformations.
The project makes an ethnographic comparison between two vulnerable social housing estates in Taastrup Municipality, namely Taastrupgaard (TG) and Gadehavegaard GHG), which will undergo comprehensive physical transformations. During recent years, a number of civic initiatives have been launched that aim to involve residents in the physical and social development of the two areas and thereby strengthen their citizenship. The large majority of these initiatives have failed, however, to increase civic engagement among the residents. This discrepancy between formal associations and actual forms of social organizations that residents are involved in raises important questions about how sustainable urban development is to be pursued for a large number of cities across the world, which already face enormous challenges of inequality, resource use and governance.
Kirstine Damgaard Henriksen, Morten Nielsen.